Descendants of the great artist Henri Matisse recently launched Maison Matisse, a company that works with contemporary designers to use Matisse’s iconic style and bring it into the world of home decor objects. The project is run by Jean-Matthieu Matisse and his sister Anne-Maxence, both of whom are great-grandchildren of the artist. The project, which launched quietly in mid-October, coincides with Matisse’s 150th birthday (he was born on New Years Eve, 1869).
Jean-Matthieu told the New York Times:
We thought it would be a good idea for the family to create something, to try to transmit what we see and imagine from his legacy, but we wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before. [. . .] There was already one Matisse; I don’t intend to do another.
Thus far, Maison Mattisse has collaborated to make limited edition runs of vases with the design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, the Spanish artist and designer Jaime Hayon, and the Italian designer and architect Alessandro Mendini. Each design is made in an edition of 12, and though the website doesn’t list prices, the Times reported that they range from €7,000 to €12,000 ($7,743 to $13,273) per vase. Maison Matisse is also planning a permanent line of lower price point items, with new objects debuting three times a year. The first line of these items will be created by French designer Marta Bakowski and inspired by Matisse’s 1939 painting La Musique, which currently resides at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
The seed for the business was planted a decade ago, and the delay of its launch was partly due to the siblings wanting approval from other Matisse relatives, both in France and the United States. While the work conjures the great artist, Jean-Matthieu Matisse noted that he considers Maison Matisse’s output to be design objects, not fine art.
“I see our project as creating objects, but not ‘art objects,’” he told the Times. “People will be able to live with an object that has a certain presence, that speaks to them like Matisse.”